Sunday, March 31, 2013

May love be resurrected in your heart today...

May love be resurrected in your heart today, and may it wash through each and every cell of your most sacred body, dripping out through your words, your presence, the way you listen, your willingness to care and get gooey messy and sticky in love, and through the way you touch and hold another. May love make use of your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your words to speak sweetness, your body to hold and touch; and may that love that keeps the stars from falling out of the sky guide you and show you the way home.

May it be revealed to you that this love is not something that you will find one day, something that will come to you, or something that you will finally reach as part of your quest. Love is not and never was separate from what you are, but is what this precious body is made of. It is the substance of every cell of your heart, every synapse in your outrageously miraculous brain, every strand of every light particle of your miracle-DNA, and of every petal of every flower in this and all universes.

Wishing all of my sisters and brothers the most precious Easter, and may each one of you - whether gay, straight, transgendered, or utterly undefineable as we all truly are - allow love to have you, finally, once and for all, as we are told Christ did… for love to take this body, this entire sensory organism, and to make use of it to scatter its secret essence in the four directions. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Take your clothes off…

How naked can we allow ourselves to be? – with our parents, our friends, our children, our lovers, with the natural world; with ourselves, with life itself? It can be terrifying to set aside all of our images, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, and to stand utterly exposed, without any reference point to tell us who and what we are. We can see so clearly that what we are as awareness itself, as love itself, offers absolutely no support for our personal identity projects. For we know that love cares not for our new spiritual identities, for yet another reference point to organize our lives around. Yes, even our fables, grand tales, and utter fascinating stories of the great awakened me are incinerated in love’s transforming flames. The great traditions have always told us that these fantasies are the last to go, and the most painful and difficult to surrender. Please, take away everything, but not the awakened me! 

Love calls out, thundering through your heart – come closer, undress, get naked, run through the woods with me, fall into the ocean, drown with me… but who is chasing whom? Fall in love, fall apart, be broken open, let me shatter every image and fantasy about who you are and what this life is. There is something happening here, love says, that is beyond the beyond, that will never be pinned down or resolved, will never be contained by the conceptual world. Take your clothes off – your physical clothes, your emotional clothes, your spiritual clothes, your heart-clothes – and let me show you. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Poured into the unknown forever...

Winnicott’s notion of the holding environment is such a precious metaphor for how we can make contact with and warmly touch our own and another person’s experience. We can allow ourselves to care so deeply about subjective experience, to resist the temptation to stand back as the “witness” or to otherwise “transcend it,” to dismiss it as “just your story” and all of the rest of the ways we have found to avoid the raging fires of intimacy. It’s a risk to go into our embodied experience – and the embodied experience of another – in this way, we know this; but we just care too much. We want to know how the other is making sense of their experience, how they are organizing their lives, what meaning they are making about what happens to them, about the images, ideas, hopes, dreams, and fears which move them.

In my experience, open awareness itself is the ultimate holding environment – a  naturally perfect field out of which pour the luminous qualities of both contact and space. Whatever arises in immediate embodied experience is of the same nature as awareness itself, that same substance, made of those same particles of awareness. How could there be a contact more intimate than this? Whatever arises is simultaneously met as awareness itself, is that alive infinite space in which experience appears, dwells for a short time, and then dissolves back into that infinity. In this space, whatever arises – no matter how disturbing, confusing, terrifying, or joyous – it is self-liberated into these particles of awareness. We come to see that these particles, of course, are none other than love itself, appearing as these light-shards of awareness.

Relatively speaking, I have always found mother ocean herself to be a raging holding environment, displaying these same qualities of contact and space, embracing this body, these senses, this psyche, and this heart in a way that is unbearably intimate, excruciatingly kind, and beyond this world. In her presence, the nervous system is so naturally down-regulated, her arms are so wide open, touching my heart so tenderly, bringing it to the outside of my skin. It is so unprotected to give my body to her in this way, for I know that she will accept it as she always does, wash it out, polish it with her grace, and return it to me anew. Cleaned out by love, recycled by that kind of sweetness. And then poured into the unknown forever.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Perhaps it was the oolong...

I was speaking with my friend Bruce Tift yesterday, who many of you know I find to be one of the very most gifted therapists out there, someone who has been a real mentor for me. We were reflecting upon how awareness itself has no bias – for either sanity or insanity, for wisdom or neurosis; and the implications of this, especially with respect to being with someone who is suffering. It was one of those conversations where at moments time-space curved in on itself, where the words were flowing not from us, but out of some mysterious Other. 

There were a few moments when I wasn’t quite sure who or what was in the room, just an outpouring of the intersubjective field itself, which was somehow transcendent, yet inclusive of Bruce-ness and me-ness. It was as if each moment was being birthed out of awareness itself, completely empty, yet pregnant in a really juicy way with color and all sorts of magnetizing qualities, taking form as the most yummy sort of intelligence, creativity, and kindness.

Or, perhaps it was the oolong, which was especially good and strong on a cold early spring morning near the most gorgeous Flatirons in Boulder… ♥

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The dripping stardust of grace as it pours out of the center of your heart...

We often forget that the journey of opening the heart is counter-instinctual and may never actually feel good. If we want to awaken, especially in an embodied and integrated way, we will be asked to turn toward all of the scary and unresolved places within, exposing ourselves to the terror of how vulnerable this life really is. We see so clearly that there are so many ways for us to be broken open.

We forget that our repressive capacities were put in place to protect us from overwhelm, from the unbearable experience of not being loved as we are, and from not feeling safe and held as our little brains and nervous systems were developing. When we set aside our defensive organization and embark upon the path of love, we intuitively know that we will have to feel each and every feeling that we have been avoiding, each sensation that has become stuck in our bodies and our cellular structure, each previously unmetabolized thought, emotion, and image. But layer by layer we tunnel down into the mysteries of the heart, watching in awe as love removes the armor that has gathered, the ways we have learned to protect ourselves, the ways that we have been able to hide from this life and from intimacy. We know we will need extra grace. We fall to our knees, touch this precious earth, and call for help, each in our own unique ways.

This heart, these eyes, these hands, the way we speak, our sexuality, our love for this world - this entire somatic reality – these are true miracles. They have been assembled cell by cell by the same master architect who created the planets, the galaxies, the oceans, and the sweet moon above. This entire human experience was created out of fragments of love, and out of the dripping stardust of grace as it pours throughout the evening sky, showering this sweetest of ever planets with utter unbearable sacredness. This life is often so challenging, it is never easy when we allow ourselves to be this exposed, to be so naked, to be willing to be so touched by those around us and all of the colors and sights and sounds and heartbreak. But we allow love to disassemble us, to polish the heart into eternity, over and over and over and over, setting aside all of our images about ourselves and this world, never really knowing where love will lead us. But always in awe of its movement, its intelligence, its raging creativity, and its fierce-sweet grace.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The ever-wild, untamed, crazy uniqueness of your life as it is...

It is so natural to want to arrive in a place where we remain forever untouched by suffering, fear, conflict, and separation. We organize our intimate relationships, our friendships, our work in the world, and our spiritualities in unconscious ways so that we do not have to feel certain feelings, and so that we can continue to have certain experiences that we have come to believe are more spiritual, more peaceful, and evidence that we are becoming one of the great awakened ones. When sadness is there, or anger, or confusion, or shame, or conflict, or jealousy, or grief, or loneliness, or the experience of “a self,” there is a way that we can so easily turn toward intimacy, toward spirituality as a buffer from the experiential intensity expressing in our bodies. We don’t want to be too vulnerable, we don’t want to risk too much, we don’t want to be too exposed, too naked, be asked to give up too many of our spiritual beliefs and fantasies, for we sense at the deepest levels that if we really let love all the way in that it will reorganize everything; it will take apart and reassemble our entire body, heart, and self-organization. We will be back in the unknown, the reference points will be stripped away, our identity as a spiritual person or an awakened one will be obliterated in love’s transforming fires, for we know ultimately that love has no interest in this.

When guests arrive at the door of your raw, tender, wide open, naked heart, in the form of the feelings, emotions, and sensations that you have deemed unworthy, unspiritual, too yucky, “not awakened,” just too much, take just one moment to breathe deeply into them, breathe in and out of your heart, and ask them what they have come to show you. Make a commitment to yourself, to being so kind to your immediate experience, that you will not turn away, not this time; you will dwell in the most luminous holding environment of love, touching whatever is there, wanting so badly to meet whatever visitors appear. You wonder: What if these guests may be forms of love in drag, disguised fragments of grace which have come in response to your deepest prayers? In this sacred pause, we touch the vast intelligence and raging creativity which has assembled this universe, this body, these senses, this heart – taking shape and form as each and every thought, feeling, emotion, sensation, and relationship that could ever arise in your embodied experience. Something mysterious is happening here, some miracle of grace is pouring throughout this milky way galaxy and is expressing in the most wildly unique way, as your life, as it is.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Love set in motion to dismantle our reference points...

How will we open all the way to this life when at any moment our hearts may break, we may fall in love in the most excruciating way, we may experience the most disturbing confusion, knowing that we will soon be asked to set aside even our most precious spiritual images, beliefs, and superstitions?  How can we take this sort of risk? Despite the terror of this sort of wide open naked intimacy, we come to see that some part of us has already taken an irreversible vow to turn all the way into this life as it is, willing to enter directly into sadness, into suffering, into darkness, into the unknown, guided by a love from beyond. 

We know that love will require that we step out of the known, that love has no interest in our “awakening,” in our spiritual concepts, in our ways of hiding, in our spiritual identity projects, or in our superstitions. We come to see that love is pouring the most radical grace into and through our lives at all times – sometimes sweetly, sometimes fiercely – set in motion to dismantle all of our reference points, leaving us totally naked, totally ordinary, no longer special, without labels, without ground, without the need to assert our specialness. It is then that love has its way with us, tossing us within its alchemical crucible, polishing our bodies and our senses and the very cells of our hearts, molding and shaping us for what is next. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Inside a jeweled palace...

We can be so hard on ourselves as we forget that the journey is utterly counter-instinctual, pointing us unceasingly toward that which is uncertain, unknown, groundless, and without reference point. Kindness is the only response. Even our fables of the “awakened me” are finally disassembled, for we are shown so clearly that love is not interested in such things. It is only interested in our burning up, in our becoming more and more naked, more and more intimate - getting closer, more caring, more curious, more exposed, more willing to risk everything. We see that there could never be an image of ourselves, including any spiritual identity, that could ever touch the magnificence of what we are. We know that by stepping into the unknown in this way that *everything* previously unresolved within us will come raging to the surface, seeking to be held, touched, cared for, metabolized, and integrated.

Laid out before us may be a doorway of sadness, a portal of shame, a superhighway of anxiety, a gateway of grief, an entryway of depression… we are invited inside an ornamented palace made of red and purple and blue and pink and yellow jewels. Each of these jewels is transparent, is made of love, and is inviting you to care enough to touch it and allow it to touch you, breaking your heart open, and showing you how precious this opportunity really is…